Considered one of the biggest and most desired tourist attractions in the world, the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu had been closed on January 21st by order of the Peruvian Government, which, at the time, justified the decision with “the social situation” and the need to “preserve the integrity of visitors”. Rail connections had already been cut for several days and in Aguas Calientes, the gateway to the monument, a “radical strike” had been declared. This Wednesday, Machu Pichu reopened to all visitors, after the train started running about a week ago.
“This decision responds to the need for dialogue and peace within the framework of the articulated work between the authorities and the population, who want the resumption of cultural activity and the economic reactivation of Cusco”, reads a statement now published by the Peruvian Ministry of Culture, responsible for managing the citadel.
At the site Machu Picchu official it was already possible to buy and book entrance tickets. Contrary to what happens in normal tourist seasons, with several periods sold out (there are maximum daily entry limits, which even in the past caused much frustration and anger among tourists and traders), it is possible to buy tickets for any day, including this Wednesday. -Friday yet.
A week ago, in anticipation of the reopening of the Inca citadel, a World Heritage Site, rail connections to Machu Picchu were partially resumed, suspended since the beginning of the year, when, in the midst of protests, stones were even placed on the rails, preventing the carriage circulation. The resumption of travel (announced for Wednesdays and Sundays, twice a day) was peacefully done, noted the AFP on February 8, testifying that the first train, coming from Ollantaytambo, about an hour and a half away, would travel around 80 people , including “a half dozen tourists”.
A clear sign that tourism is in stand-by in virtually all of Peru, which has been experiencing continuous instability for over two months with strong and massive protests, violently repressed: more than 60 people have already died. The crisis originated with the dismissal and arrest of President Pedro Castillo,
Since then, the tourism sector has been one of the most affected, with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Peru, through Minister Fernando Helguero, confirming that cancellations in the first half would already be “around 50% to 60%.” With the extension of the political crisis and protests, this figure is expected to be much higher. On average, outside the pandemic, Peru received about 4.5 million tourists per year, the Cusco and Machu Picchu area at least 4000 visitors per year. day.
Around the world, tourists have been officially advised to avoid traveling to Peru until the situation stabilizes. In Portugal, in a note published in January and still in force in the Advice for Travelers pagethe MThe Ministry of Foreign Affairs makes several warnings regarding Peru: “Tourism not recommended. The present situation leads us to maintain the recommendation to avoid non-essential trips to and from Peru, in particular by road”. In summary, it concludes, “if you are thinking of traveling to Peru for non-essential reasons, postpone it.”